Kaiser KP HealthConnect rollout done

Done: Kaiser Permanente has rolled out KP HealthConnect, its own brand of an electronic health record, to 431 medical offices and 36 hospitals.

Kaiser officials announced March 3 at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s annual conference in Atlanta that every medical facility within the health system is now equipped with the largest private sector electronic health record in the world.

The final phase of the EHR implementation includes bedside documentation, clinical decision support and bar coding for medication administration.  

KP HealthConnect provides care teams with access to patient information and the latest best practices all in one. The health information system securely connects more than 8.6 million people to their physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, personal information, and the latest medical knowledge.

"KP HealthConnect helps ensure that our care teams have the tools they need to deliver high-quality care and the best patient experience possible," says Andrew M. Wiesenthal, MD, associate executive director at The Permanente Federation. "The electronic health record has proven results in helping us improve the management of chronic conditions and encourages the use of preventive medicine. This milestone is one that we have looked forward to for years, and it is extremely rewarding to have watched an idea, that was questioned by many, turn into a reality."

Before KP HealthConnect, paper records were available only 5 percent of the time in the emergency room in one region, according to Kaiser.

“KP Health Connect has changed everything about the way I practice emergency medicine,” said Steven Kohler, MD, chief of the emergency department at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.  “We went from a largely paper-based system to almost completely paperless system, which encompasses everything from how I generate a medical record to how I order drugs or labs or more studies for patients to how I create discharge follow-up instructions. So everything is done on the computer.”

In the first quarter of 2007, barcode scanning linked to KP HealthConnect resulted in a 57 percent reduction in medication errors in one of Kaiser’s hospitals, according to Kaiser.

Jennifer Ward, a nurse in the intensive care unit at Kaiser’s Antioch Hospital in Antioch, Calif., recalls medication administration before KP HealthConnect.

“Physicians’ writing sometimes was hard to decipher and the nurses would be saying one thing, pharmacy would be saying another,’ Ward said. “We’d have to call the doctor and in that case we delayed care to patients.”

“I as a nurse love KP HealthConnect because of its efficiency, because of the clarity in communication,” she said. “I feel that it’s invaluable. I wouldn’t want to go back to the old way. I would be worried to go back to the old way.”